Virtual business support and what it means for sustainability

Virtual business support and what it means for sustainability

Virtual Business Support Sustainability

Virtual Business Support and What it Means for Sustainability. 

The term work-life balance took a complete turn during the height of the pandemic. While many missed the mid-morning coffee machine banter, others thrived by spending more time with their families, had time to focus on their mental and physical well-being and some even uprooted their lives completely, re-locating to areas they would actually like to live with no lengthy commutes to consider. Saving a small fortune in the process.

For the employee, remote working or even a hybrid model is an easy sell. Fortunately, most employers have been willing to look at the future of work for their business.

The benefits of remote working for employers include:

  • On-premise cost savings
  • Productivity of workers
  • Mental health and wellness of employees
  • Expansion of talent pools
  • Communication improvement

But that’s not all. One of the most beneficial and impactful arguments for remote or hybrid working models, sits with sustainability.

The UN believes 14 of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals can be solved or advanced through virtual work. Living and working sustainably is more than just good business.

In the world today we are facing several threatening global issues, a health pandemic, economic crisis, climate change, mental health emergency and not to mention the entanglement of race and inequality. Though remote working won’t eradicate these issues entirely, virtual jobs have the power to change the lives of employees, businesses, and communities across the globe by impacting:

  • The Economy: When employees are spread across countries rather than packed into cities and hotspots, wealth can spread and help to uplift poorer communities.
  • The Environment: Working remotely means shorter commutes, lighter carbon footprints, reduced air pollution, carbon emissions but it also has a knock-on effect on things like food production, energy usage, elimination of physical office waste like stationary with cloud technology. Fast fashion which is a topic currently discussed a lot will be impacted, employees won’t have the need to purchase as many clothes.
  • Diversity: Equal remote work earns equal opportunity.  It turns out that when managers are focused on the what of results, suddenly the whowhen, and where doesn’t matter as much. Consequently, traditional discriminatory factors like race, age, gender, and family status are reduced or eliminated in virtual workplaces.

Here at Designated, we saw the benefits of remote working long before COVID-19 made it almost mandatory for businesses to adapt to using virtual and cloud technologies.

Managing Director Jane Braithwaite has been able to build Designated with an unlimited pool of talent, sourcing industry experts across PA, Accountancy, Marketing, HR & Recruitment both locally and globally to the benefit of all Designated’s clients. There is no traditional 9-5, no distractions, lengthy meetings and no burnout or stress from commuting. The work is done quickly and efficiently using the best virtual business support teams available.

Remote business support allows business leaders to focus their time on what matters. With flexible support options available you can choose to hire a virtual PA, virtual marketing team or a virtual accountant when, and how you need it.

For more information about virtual business support contact Michelle Elliot on michelle.elliott@designatedgroup.com

 

 

 

How to prevent burnout as you return to work

How to prevent burnout as you return to work

Designated Group Burnout

 
Burnout is defined as physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress. As it turns out, there are ways to identify the early warning signs of burnout. And, there are many simple practices you can put in place immediately to prevent burnout from becoming an occupational hazard .
 

13 Early Signs of Burnout 

  1. High levels of stress or anxiety. Feeling frequently on edge, with adrenaline constantly coursing through your body.

     

  2. Lack of engagement. You don’t feel motivated at work. You have difficulty focusing or exhibit a short attention span.

     

  3. Increased cynicism. Feelings of resentment or disconnection. You may notice yourself being more negative and cynical. Feeling cranky and defensive or snapping at people easily. Youdon’tmake time to talk on the phone or connect with the people who matter most to you. If you’re feeling a lot of resentment towards others, chances are it’s because you’re not getting your needs met and you’re on the path to burnout.

     

  4. Distracted eating. You eat your meals in front of a computer, television or while on the go (in the car, standing up, etc.)

     

  5. Not getting enough sleep. The suggested minimum amount of sleep is seven to eight hours each night, if you’re getting less than this, you risk some level of burnout.

     

  6. Low energy and exhaustion. You’re tired. Not just sleepy tired, but emotionally fatigued. You may feel exhausted by the end of the day, with no energy left to exercise or even engage with others, you just want to crash and watch television or zone out in some other way.

     

  7. Never enough time. You feel as though you’re always in a hurry and never have enough time for all the things you’re trying to accomplish each day.

     

  8. Excessive worrying, high level of self-criticism. Your mind cycles through the same worry-filled thoughts again and again and you can’t seem to stop. The critical voice in your head is very loud, telling you constantly to do more, work harder, and no matter what you accomplish, you’re still not doing enough. There is no self-compassionate voice to balance out the critical voice, or if there is, it is very weak and you can barely hear it.

     

  9. Physical illness. Initially, the physical symptoms can be subtle. You may experience headaches, a persistent cold, have a stomach bug or an upset stomach frequently, or a weak immune system in general. If early signs are ignored, your body may hit a wall and receive a more serious diagnosis.

     

  10. Numb feelings. Increase in addictive behaviour. Initially, this can show up as an excessive dependence on caffeine and/or sugar to stay alert and boost energy when feeling low. As things progress, increased dependence on drugs, alcohol, eating comfort foods or watching more television than usual can be signs you are burning out and using these coping mechanisms to avoid acknowledging how you really feel.

     

  11. Inefficacy. Experiencing diminished personal accomplishment, a perceived decline of incompetence or productivity, and expending energy at work without seeing any results.

     

  12. No Breaks.

– Vacation. You can’t remember the last time you took a single day off just to relax and do nothing. Or perhaps you haven’t had a vacation in over six or even twelve months. 

– Recharge throughout the day. You may have a tendency to push through your work without taking a break. It’s one thing to be in the zone, but if you notice you’re not getting up to get a glass of water, stretch your legs, go on a walk or call a friend at least once every 90-120 minutes, you could be putting unnecessary stress on your body. 

– Weekly Rituals. You haven’t made time for a rejuvenating activity in the last week (massage or any pampering treatment, a bath, cooking or reading a book simply for pleasure, going on a hike, etc.). 

  1. Not enough exercise. You aren’t making as much time to exercise or move your body as you would like. 

What are some practical, simple & cost-free things to do? 

First, go through the list above and circle your top three symptoms. 

Next, ask yourself “Hmmm, what do I need?” for each of these areas. For example, if you’re eating at your desk five days a week, what you need could be to connect with friends or colleagues over lunch more often, or to exercise during your lunch break. If you haven’t taken a vacation in over a year, what you need could be to schedule a vacation. 

Once you determine what you need, come up with an action step for each of these three areas. An action step has a “What” and a “By When.” For example, Action Step: I will plan a vacation and book the tickets by next Thursday at 4pm. 

Setting concrete goals is one of the best ways to ensure you’ll make a change. 

Avoiding burnout starts by putting some of these preventative measures in place. 

If you want even more accountability, you can recruit an anti-burnout partner. Tell this person what your action steps are and ask him or her to hold you accountable by checking in to make sure you’ve followed through. 

Getting support and setting clear action steps will help you implement these simple practices with greater ease. 

Hire a Designated Virtual Personal Assistant and delegate some tasks to ease the burden.  Our virtual personal assistant team will work with you towards the same goal and help to ease the pressure. 

 

How a Virtual PA can help you stay creative

How a Virtual PA can help you stay creative

Designated PA Stay Creative

Take a moment and think back to when you decided ‘to go it alone’ or step up to the challenge of being a Creative Director. The reasons may have been many. Was it to have more flexibility, setting your own creative standards, widening your network, creating unique and intricate ideas without being overwhelmed by continuous admin roadblocks? 

Time pressure and Creativity 

In today’s fast-paced environment, it’s about the speed of creative output. Time pressure seems to have worsened, with clients wanting jobs delivered yesterday! And let’s not forget the volume of paperwork, emails and uncontrolled growth in project scope…resulting in disrupted creativity. 

Embrace being different 

The Neuroscience of creativity shows you are wired differently. You have higher levels of curiosity, a desire for novelty. Your brain is restless, you need spontaneity, free-flow thinking and not a conveyor belt of generic ideas.

Non-creative tasks are a real turn off for you. Research suggests that multitasking ruins productivity causes mistakes, and impedes creative thought. According to Nicolas Cole at Inc. creatives despise distractions among other things. 

How to stay creative 

Are continuous multitasking and endless admin still a reality for you? Putting a stop to it is easier than you think! If you’ve lost your creative flow, then take the time to replenish it. Don’t let admin tasks get in your way, ask for help.

Stay Creative and offload admin to a Virtual Assistant PA. 

A Virtual Personal Assistant can help you get back doing what you do best -. big idea thinking. 

Think how much time you could save by #SayingNotoAdmin and having a Virtual Assistant PA. 

No more time spent… 

  • Managing your mailbox 
  • Arranging meetings 
  • Liaising with clients
  • Chasing payments
  • Paying Invoices. 

The opportunities to make the most out of your day are endless with a Designated Personal Assistant.

For more information please contact Hannah, our client services manager who will be happy to talk your through all that’s involved with hiring a Virtual PA:  hannah@designatedgroup.com

Furlough going forward, what you have to pay from July 1st, 2021.

Furlough going forward, what you have to pay from July 1st, 2021.

Furlough Scheme July 1st

Furlough has been somewhat of a saving grace to both employers and employees since the beginning of the pandemic. Now as coronavirus cases begin to ease, with the help of the nationwide vaccination programme, the UK government has announced changes to the scheme which come into effect July 1st, 2021, with subsequent changes also from August 1st, 2021.

The current scheme: The Furlough funds that are currently available to businesses in the UK allow for a grant of up to 80% to cover an employees pay, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. Employers can choose to top up to 100% if they wish.

Flexible Furlough is also an option. An employee will work only some hours, which their employer will pay them for in full, the grant will cover 80% of pay for the employees unworked hours subject to a cap of £2,500.

What will change for employers as of 1st July 2021?
From the 1st of July 2021, the Government’s grant will reduce to pay 70% of a Furloughed employees wages instead of 80%. However, monthly pay for Furloughed staff must remain at 80%, (at a cap of £2,500) so employers must contribute 10%, up to £312.50 each month.

What will change for employers as of 1st August 2021? From 1 August 2021 until the scheme ends, the Government’s grant will reduce a final time to 60% of Furloughed employees’ wages for their unworked hours (capped at £1,875 per month).

With the 80% pay still required for employees, the employer’s contributions will increase to 20% (up to £625.)

So from July until September employers will need to plan to be able to cover the cost of 10% – 20% of their employees’ wages, national insurance and pension contributions.

If you would like any assistance as we move into this next phase, the Accountancy team at Designated would be more than happy to work with you to ensure you are meeting new business requirements and responsibilities as an employer.

Our Head of Accountancy services Vicky, would be more than happy to discuss this in more detail with you, get in touch: vicky.garbett@designatedgroup.com.

Did you know your team can claim up to £250 for working from home in 2020/2021?

Did you know your team can claim up to £250 for working from home in 2020/2021?

working from home

If like many businesses you have had to take things online, working remotely with your staff from home during 2020 and 2021, they can submit a tax claim of up to £125.00 for 2021/22 tax year. If they also worked from home last year (tax year 2020/21) then they could be eligible for up to £250.00 tax relief for both years.

 

Are they eligible?
• They will need to have started working from home during the pandemic.
• Encountered higher costs due to home working.
• Working from home costs not already been covered by you, the employer.

How can they claim?
With so many of the UK population still working from home to some degree, the government set up an easy to use website making It easier than before to claim back tax relief: https://www.gov.uk/tax-relief-for-employees/working-at-home

If their application is successful their PAYE tax code will be changed and they will be able to take home more of your income tax.

The tax relief they will receive depends on their income tax band. All taxpayers can get a flat-rate of tax relief on £6 a week; basic-rate taxpayers will gain £1.20 a week (20% of £6), which equates to £60 a year. Higher-rate taxpayers can gain £2.40 a week, which is 40% of £6. This equates to £125 a year.

They can claim more and submit evidence if they have incurred more costs working from home.

Business owners and self-employed.

Self-employed workers can claim for more costs when working from home, such as a proportion of the costs when lighting, heating, cleaning, insurance, mortgage interest, water rates and general maintenance are used for work.

To work out the proportion, you’ll need to account for the amount of time you’re using your home for work, and in some cases the size of the area within the home that’s used for work purposes.

For example, if you work in a study you’d only be able to claim for the costs of heating that room while you work.

 

2021 Budget Announcement
Earlier this year Rishi Sunak announced a number of schemes and support plans for small businesses, these include:

• Restart Grant
• Help to Grow scheme
• Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
• Recovery Loan Scheme
• Super-deduction tax break for investment
• Business rates holiday
• Reduced VAT for tourism and hospitality
• Relief as no increase to Capital Gains Tax

You can find out more about these schemes and how they could apply to you and your business here.

Budget 2021 and what it means for small business

 

 

 

 

 

 

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